A Lesson In Phone Etiquette AKA How Not to Wind Up On The Ignore List.

People often complain that with the advent of new technology, the shift to more social media interactions vs in person interactions, and the constant use of cellular phones, etiquette is becoming a thing of the past. I always rebut with the statement; It depends on who your friends are.

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Many people believe that the higher  a person’s education or socioeconomic status is the better their etiquette. I don’t agree. Working in the health care field and being surrounded by people from all education and socioeconomic statuses, I can honesty say that in my experience bad etiquette is rampant in all walks of life.

Thankfully most of my friends, regardless to whether or not they sought higher education, completed trade school, or  were just raised by parents who taught them good etiquette never commit certain socially unacceptable (at least in our circle) phone faux pas. For instance, we send a greeting text before delving in to the subject, we sign off with well wishes and don’t just leave conversations lingering, if a conversation can’t be summised in a few text messages we send a “Hey, call me when you get a chance” text, and we never EVER message or call each other during hours we know are off limits, especially without extending an apology for communicating too early or too late. Apparently my circle of friends, no matter where in the world  we stem from, were all taught or learned to behave better than that.

Recently I went through an experience which reminded me that phone etiquette isn’t always taught so I compiled a list of things that burn my bum, maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m right, either way here goes:

Do not begin a text conversation without some sort of greeting. A simple HEY goes a long way.

When beginning new communication interactions ask the other person how they like to be communicated with. I have friends who both Love and HATE text messages; the same goes for voice calls.

Only use text lingo that the other person understands. A friend of mine informed me today that she just found out what OMW meant very recently. While not a frequent short hand user even I am guilty of this one.

Before delving in to what ails you as soon as the other person answers the phone is it both customary and just plain respectful to ask how they are, how their day is going, and even if they have the time to talk before dumping your life juice in to their lap.

As for the previous item, after asking about their day actually LISTEN to how the other person’s day is going before you dump your life juice on to their lap. They know if you’re listening or just waiting patiently to vomit your ever so important experience or promise in to their ears. (It’s probably pretty obvious that this burns my bum. It does. It drives me up the wall.)

Ask yourself if it’s really okay to call someone and complain about your life every single day.

Ask yourself if the person you are calling wants to hear you complain about your life every single day. Some people love to listen to things like this others not so much. (I tend to be of the latter school of thought. I can be a listening ear occasionally but after day twenty-six I start to think about how my counselor gets paid one hundred dollars an hour.)

You do not have to yell into your phone for the other person to hear you. I shouldn’t have to turn my volume down every time you call me. Wanna know if you’re guilty of this? Walk through a crowded place and speak like you normally do. Are people looking at you with distain? Your conversation is either inappropriate for your surroundings or you’re screaming in to the phone.

If you call someone you should probably spend more time talking to them and less time talking to the people in your background. This is sometimes hard if you’re a parent, in that case maybe you should try and wait until the kids are asleep to call your best friend and give her the scoop. That conversation is probably not made for small ears anyways.

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Is that group text really necessary? Does everyone in that group already have the other members numbers? Or is this group going to lead to people asking “Who is this?”  when other people begin to respond? If so it’s probably a better idea to just go ahead and copy/paste or forward the message to everyone instead of including them in the same message.

It’s ok to ask someone if you can return their call when you’re done talking to the cashier or the bank teller. There aren’t many things more annoying than having to listen to someone decide whether they want four or six nuggets while you wait for them to get to the point.

These are just a few of the things that drive me crazy. I could be the only person in the world whom things like this bother but if you’ve ever noticed the decline in more than one friend’s attention after doing some of these things chances are you should probably try not to do them, at least not as much as you used to. If they work drop me a line.

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